24 June 2020Germany
30 June 2020Finland

‘Guernsey start with a Finnish adventure’       by Gareth Le Prevost

FINISH first in Finland. That is the Guernsey team’s primary objective now that the road to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 has been confirmed for European nations, with Helsinki the Sarnians’ initial destination.

Three eight-team qualifying events will take place this summer, with only the winner of each progressing to September’s Europe Final where they will join Jersey – who qualify by right by being the top-ranked European team outside of those who will be at Australia 2020 – to compete for two spots at the Global Qualifiers, which is just one step away from the main event in India.

Guernsey have been placed in one of three eight-team groups with the winners of each set to join Jersey in the regional final. The top two sides from that Europe Final will then go through to twin eight-team global qualifiers where 16 sides will get the chance to book World Cup spots. Guernsey have been drawn in Europe Qualifier B, which, somewhat confusingly, will be held after both the A and C competitions, which take place in Spain and Belgium respectively.

The island side, who are back under the stewardship of Andy Cornford, will face hosts Finland, Germany, Sweden, Luxembourg, Hungary, Gibraltar and Greece.The tournament will be from 24-30 June and will be played on artificial wickets.

‘Now we have this confirmation we can fully commit to the preparation process and get the boys into the best shape possible for Finland. That had already begun with many back into the ISC before Christmas and all back now under the watchful eye of the new coaching team of Andy Cornford and Olly Tapp,’ said Mark Latter, the Guernsey Cricket chief executive officer. ‘With a group of eight and only one to qualify this will require us to hit the ground running and everything we do from here on is geared to do just that.’ Germany are the top seed in the group having just failed to progress from the Guernsey-hosted Europe Finals for this year’s T20 World Cup by a mere 0.053 on net run-rate last summer. Hungary are making their debut in ICC competition while Greece and Luxembourg are returning to ICC events for the first time in several years. ‘Twenty-four European teams will have the opportunity to compete in an expanding qualification process to qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021,’ said Andy Wright, ICC Regional development manager Europe. We are also thrilled that Finland will be hosting an ICC event for the first time, showcasing the appetite and ability of our members to host international events.’

In preparation for the tournament a Guernsey training squad will be off to the Blackstone Academy in Sussex to play three T20I matches, against a to be confirmed fellow Europe member, on 8 and 9 May. The tournament squad will leave for Finland on 20 June, playing a match at the 1st Central County Ground at Hove on that Saturday, before travelling out to Finland the following day. ‘We are very grateful to Keith Greenfield and our partners at Sussex Cricket for the help in providing practice facilities,’ said Latter. ‘In addition to these matches we hope to arrange something here in Guernsey as well.’

Europe Qualifier A (Spain, 16-22 May): Italy, Norway, France, Bulgaria, Israel, Malta, Cyprus, Spain.

Europe Qualifier B (Finland, 24-30 June): Germany, Guernsey, Sweden, Luxembourg, Hungary, Gibraltar, Greece, Finland.

Europe Qualifier C (Belgium, 10-16 June): Denmark, Austria, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Isle of Man, Serbia, Belgium.